Missoula Community School

Thank You Mission

This mission, the final school year mission, is one that I shall remember for a while.  The Superheroes embraced the spirit of these acts of kindness and really, truly believed they were Superheroes called into action.  They flew (or ran) the entire distance with smiles and jokes the entire way.  Each one had learned that showing appreciation is a most important of tasks.  For this mission, they were able to take a teacher, Meg, from another classroom on her first mission.  I still smile at how transformative putting on those capes of kindness has been.
The mission, which we accepted with great pride, was to deliver a thank you note to Bernice’s Bakery.  For the last couple of years, Bernice’s Bakery has baked the pizzas the children make each month so that the school can hold Pizza Day, a day in which each child in the school is part of the process of creating pizza to enjoy together.  We were charged with delivering a thank you notes
The children were very excited to don their capes and enjoy a (rare) sunny day.  They ‘flew’ the whole time!  As mentioned before, flying means running so fast that we believe we are actually flying.  Usually we fly a block or two and then need to walk a bit.  But the joy of the mission took over and boy did we want to fly.  The children did stop at each corner, lay down, and take a nap for a minute before they took on the next stretch of block.
We took a detour to Bitterroot Floral to pick out flowers.  The children were very excited to pick out their bouquet and were even recognized by the store workers.  After carefully selecting our flowers, we made our way to Bernice’s where we were able to hand deliver our thank you.

This particular delivery ended up being extra special, as the fellow who had oversaw our pizza baking will be leaving after the summer to pursue photography.  The joy on his face as this group of children hand-delivered flowers and a thank you note, not knowing we were also saying goodbye to a friend, was worth the trip.  He brought out his camera and took a couple of pictures of the children before we flew back to school for music.

During the mission, one boy who had put his shoes on the wrong feet and initially resisted the adult requests to switch his shoes to the right feet, finally decided to put his shoes on the appropriate feet.  He was feeling like he could not move as fast as he wanted.  Immediately upon making the switch he flew down the street bearing a huge grin.  He stopped to say, “Kristal – look!  I am flying so fast there are stars coming out of my back!”  And sure enough, there were.  I do believe I could not have scripted a better last mission.  Thank you, my original band of superheroes, for helping make a difference one mission at a time.

*The first summer mission – fence painting with Imagine Missoula – was delayed due to rain.  As soon as there are a couple of sunny days, we will reschedule.  If you would like to join us, just email the superheroes.

Superhero Spell of Friendship

The Superheroes needed to take a break from missions the last couple weeks as they prepared for their school’s presentation night and participated in some fun field trips.  Although the Superheroes were not out in physical force, they managed to influence those around them still.  Here is a story one of the teachers created to help resolve a debate between herself and one of the children.
In another classroom within the school, a debate has been occurring between a student (four years old) and a teacher.  The child, who believes with all her heart she is a unicorn, created an animal.  This animal was a pegacorn, a mix between a unicorn and a pegasus.  The debate was that a pegacorn and a dragon could not be friends.  It was well known that the dragon would come after the pegacorn, and the pegacorn would perform donkey kicks to fend off the dragon.  But, the teacher was sure that (with help) the pegacorn and dragon could learn to be friends.  The child disagreed.  It should be noted the child was a fan of the superheroes and I believe has her own superhero cape.  Well, in a last, very well thought out, attempt to prove these two could be friends, the teacher created a picture and story for the child.

Thanks Allison, for using the superhero way to help spread your message of friendship.

The Superheroes will be going on their last school year missions in the next week.  But the superhero work does not end with the last day of school.  We will be working with Imagine Missoula, a local organization, to provide a few opportunities over the summer for anyone (young or old) who would like to be a superhero to join in on a mission.  Our first joint mission is coming up.  A nice elder woman needs help painting her fence, and has accepted the superhero offer of help.  Any child who participates will be able to have their picture taken in a cape.  This is the way it will work.  Because this is our first attempt at joining these superhero preschoolers with Imagine Missoula’s superheroes who work during the day,  we are putting out two dates – Wednesday June 1st or Tuesday June 7th (4pm both days).  If you are able and willing to join this momentous mission, email me through the superhero email address telling me which day you can help.  We will choose the date in which we are able to get an ample number of volunteers, both young and old.  Hope to see you there!

Butterfly Beauty

While the Crazy Loving Cows (a three-year-old class at the Community School) were learning about the rain forests, they invited Jen from the Missoula Butterfly House to come into their classroom and share information about insects found in the rain forest.  She brought in hissing Madagascar cockroaches, Milton the millipede, and a blue morpho-butterfly.  The children were so excited and interested in the insects that they wanted to do something to help get the Butterfly House started.  (It will officially open in 2012).

The children brought in pennies from home (over 700!) and held a bake sale at school.  Talk about realizing you are never too small to make a difference in your community – they made over $100 in two days from their bake sale!  When they combined the penny drive and the bake sale, they raised $139 that they were able to donate to the Missoula Butterfly House.  The children were delighted to be able to give Jen the huge jar of money, and they had the added bonus of feeling great about helping get the Butterfly House off to a good start so that other children can enjoy the insects too.

Wow, the power of a three year old is magnificent.  Thank you Crazy Loving Cows for your help!

Bike Walk Bus Week Fun

The Superheroes of Kindness were having quite a bit of fun during bike walk bus week (two superheroes rode the bus with me one day and one rode his scoot bike with me another day – all the way to school!)  We decided it was definitely necessary to do a Bike Walk Bus Week Superhero mission.  This fine day we were joined by Superhero supporter and friend, Ed.  So excited you joined us, Ed!

For this mission, we wanted to celebrate people who biked, walked or bussed.  This was a very special mission in that we were going to perform our first really random act of kindness, one in which we were not going to see the recipient and were going to leave our act of kindness out there for someone to receive.  We spent Wednesday making butterflies out of some really sparkly wallpaper samples.  On the butterflies we attached notes, making sure any random recipients would know what it is they were being left and why.  On Friday, the Superheroes and their special guest visited Bitterroot Floral where we each picked out a single stem flower.  Then we set off down Higgins to give our flowers to passer-byers.

Of course, we ran into some ‘friends’ along the way.  A couple of the children saw a police officer on a motorbike.  After some brief discussion distinguishing between a ‘bike’ and a ‘motorbike’, we decided to give the officer a butterfly (well, actually more like six butterflies) for helping to keep our streets safe.  As a thank you, the police officer let the children take turns sitting on his motorbike.

Then of course, we ran into some folks eating on the Hip Strip.  The children gave one fellow a butterfly, and he chatted the children up.  He complimented the craftmanship of their work (great cutting skills) and talked capes.  Definitely exciting in our book.
The random part of the mission was wonderful!  The children were excited to leave butterflies  for someone to find.  In fact, it was quite a bit of fun trying to wrap the butterflies around bike handles, in tires, kind of anywhere on the bikes.  Some of us wanted to leave the broken stems from our flowers (after all, the stems are pretty special parts of the flowers, too.)  And contrary to what I had planned for, each child was able to give up their special flower to leave or give to someone they do not know.  Although we frequent the flower shop, this was the first time we had to give up a single stem we had picked out and held.  (We have only given them away as bunches for special occasions like birthdays, not singly and just for fun).   This was also the first time we offered something special we really wanted for ourselves to help make someone else’s day.  And I tell you, my spirit was very much renewed this mission.  These children really showed me the importance of watering the seeds of kindness.  I have not stopped smiling since.  I can only imagine how a recipient of one of the flowers or butterflies must be feeling right now.

Thank you Superheroes for helping celebrate alternative transportation, and for refreshing your teacher’s spirit!

Reader Comments:

  1. I really liked the part about the policeman and his motor bike.

    Distant supporter – Aunt Mary

  2. I just read about this project on Huffington Post and am compelled to thank you for the goodness you’re cultivating and spreading around. Not only is it good for the children, but I know that no matter how bad a day I’m having, it would be made indescribably better by being handed a butterfly or flower (or whatever) by a four-year-old in a heart-bedecked cape. So even though I don’t live in Missoula (although my Dad was from Geraldine, born in Ft. Benton), I want to thank you and the children for making the world a more joyful place. What a difference you’re making in people’s lives!

  3. What a wonderful blog! I just found you through the Huffington Post article and had to comment. I will be following your amazing Superheroes here and hope that you will tell the children that a (retired) kindergarten teacher in Wisconsin thinks that they are fantastic! Thank you for the thoughtfulness in your teaching.
    Sara

  4. Hi I am a Mom of 3 ( two 7 year olds and a 3 year old)from San Diego, CA. I stumbled upon your wonderful group of superheroes accidently (or was it) today and absolutely fell in love with your group and idea…I wonder how to get my children up in the morning and dressed,and you can do great things everyday for people (in the snow ) I just wanted to let you know that your small group of wonderful children have given me a smile and inspired me to make this summer one of many kind acts… Thank you and keep up the great work…your new friend Juli from San Diego California

Celebrating Earth Week

Before the Superheroes of Kindness began their first mission, when they were just becoming excited about the idea and making their first list of missions they would like to accomplish, they knew they wanted to spend some time picking up garbage around the school and making the neighborhood look nice.  And boy howdy, did the Superheroes accomplish that for Earth Day!  For this particular mission, a friend to me and Superhero enthusiast, Ellen, joined in the fun.  In honor of Earth Day, she wore her ‘Mother Earth’ dress.  Yeah Ellen!
 Thursday morning, the children prepared for the silly task of getting dirty in order to make the neighborhood clean.  Each Superhero put on a glove, got out their eagle eyes, and scoured the grass and sidewalk for garbage of any kind.  They barely even noticed the cool wet weather.
In the end, we filled two half garbage sacks.  Considering the small size of most the garbage we found, that was quite a bit!  The children also were able to see  some of our neighbors enjoy the hard work we were putting into our earth day mission.  A couple of  neighbors came out onto their front step after we  cleaned up their front yard, and of course they couldn’thelp but smile and thank the children.  Way to go!

Friday morning the Superheroes set out on a special Earth Day mission.  Some very kind friends to this clan of good-doers have been working very hard to make capes, lots of capes.  The goal has been for an entire classroom to go on a misson together.  (For those who don’t know the school, a classroom consists of two groups of children.)  Thanks to their hard work, both classes from ‘the green room’ were able to join together  for the first time!  With great excitement, all of the children don their capes (those new to the Superhero fun wore great big smiles).  The children made recycled flowers, either decorate pieces of from egg cartons or cutting beautiful calendar scenery into bright new flowers.  As children made their earth day flowers, they attached a note on which were statements from the children on how to help take care of the earth.  In one big clan, the 15 children leaped down to Le Petit, where we left our bouquet of flowers for their customers to enjoy (and hopefully read our suggestions on how to help take care of our earth).  Mission accomplished!
Our Ideas to Help Care for the Earth
by the Green Room Friends
     1. Plant new flowers
     2. More water (for the earth).  Make our earth
         stronger.
     3. Not throw garbage on the ground.
     4. Water plants.
     5. Sweep garbage.
     6. Put garbage in garbage cans instead of the
         ground.
     7. Make more beautiful stuff on earth day.  Reuse things!
     8. Take (only) a little bit of water from the earth.

Double Whammy

It may have been a while since the superheroes have updated their blog, but boy howdy, have they been continuing their missions of kindness.  Here is a recap of two of their missions:

Senior Citizen’s Center Surprise

The children worked to make more vibrant, handmade flowers to take to the senior citizen’s center.  The superheroes had visited here before in December, bringing cookies to the lunch attendees.  This time, we were working to brighten what had been a very grey month.  Upon doning their capes, the superheroes flew the two blocks to the center.  It was a really neat experience revisiting the center.  The children remembered how happy they had made these friends.  As they remembered how excited the seniors were the last time they came, the children became more and more excited.  One girl teared up, saying she was so happy and her “heart felt so warm” that she “needed to let some tears out.”  We had quite a few flowers to hand out (nearly thirty).  As each flower was handed out, the children became more excited and grew bigger smiles on themselves and their new friends.  One man received two flowers, asking if he needed to return one so that someone else may get it.  When told he could keep both, he grinned from ear to ear saying he felt very extra special.  Not only were the children asked back, but were given an open invitation to return whenever they please.  It appeared the children may have not only brightened the senior’s days, but maybe even their week.  Way to go Superheroes!

To see a video of the Superheroes of Kindness in action during this field trip, click the link: will fix link

 

Mission: Landscaping

The children spent an hour one Friday morning helping to prepare the landscaping of a neighborhood ice cream shop for new spring growth.  The Big Dipper is frequented by Missoula Community School families, and the children thought they would be showing kindness by making the scenery which the ice cream eaters enjoy attractive.  Although the weather was a bit gloomy, the spirits were high.  Many different aspects of prepping growth for spring were experienced: long grasses were cut, leaves picked up, garbage collected, woodchips and cement raked and broomed, and of course, the observation of and replacement of a little spider whose current home we had removed.

It was very exciting to pick up handfuls of grasses that were taller than we were.  And it definitely was extremely thrilling to receive a scoop of ice cream as a thank you for our hard work.  It was fun watching the children turn what was originally a fun field trip into an exciting superhero mission; they were able to see the kindness in their work and joy of their finished product before we even left the school.  (“Kristal, we are showing kindness today.  We should take our capes.”)  Thank you Leslie, for letting us join you for a joyful Friday morning!

Random Acts of Kindness Week
Two other classes performed acts of kindness during random acts of kindness week in February.  One group, the Crazy Loving Cows, left goodies for the custodian who works hard each night to clean our school so that we may continue to enjoy it each and every day.  The other group, the Brave Tigers, left a present for Lauren, the wonderful person from the building we rent who works with our school.  The Brave Tigers received a thank you letter from Lauren.  Way to go, fellow superheroes!

Care Package for Nancy

Today the Superheroes made a care package for Nancy, the wonderful woman who delivers our mail with a smile each and every day.  Each child worked hard decorating a flower (made from recycled egg cartons and pipe cleaners.)  A LOT of love and care went into the flower making process.

We thought it would be nice to invite Nancy to lunch one day.  The children helped write a note for our special friend, they of course provided the words and I wrote them on paper.  We decided hot cocoa and some chocolates were necessities in this care package.

After our package seemed complete, we ‘wrapped’ it up.  Although the children wanted to take it to her house (even after I pointed out we did not know where she lived), they settled on adding it to the school’s outgoing mail.

It just so happened that we were in the hallway when Nancy arrived at school today.  The children became very excited and were thrilled to see her joyful response to their surprise.  Three of the children even ran (or shall I say ‘walked very quickly’) down the hall to give her a big hug.  And now, a person we have seen and had contact with, but had not taken much time to talk with, is a good friend receiving some of the city’s biggest hugs.  There may have been snow outside, but the sun sure was shining in the halls of the Community School today.

(A fun side story.  As the children put on their capes today, one child approached me and said, “If I see a bad guy, I won’t fight him.  I will just give him a big hug.”)

A New Friend

Shortly after completing our mission to Flor Haven, the Superheroes of Kindness received this beautiful note from their Senator, Max Baucus.  Although they may not have quite realized the significance of this letter, they very much realized the excitement of receiving mail.  They really found joy in the idea that someone thought of them and took the time to write them a note.  The Superheroes quickly decided they would need to let Max know they appreciated the time he took, which is how it came to be that a cape was sewn to mail to him.  It was also decided we should make two, and send one to President Obama as well.  Here are two pictures of the newest capes of kindness, one showing the capes both outside and in, and one showing the magnificent ‘K’ to remind their owners to show kindness.  Thank you Casey for the generosity of time you gave to make these capes happen.

Welcome!

Welcome to our Superheroes of Kindness blog!  This blog is definitely a work in progress, but we hope you find it fun and discover how easy becoming your own Superhero of Kindness can be!